Day 6 of General
Convention brings with it some delightful coincidences.
Have you noticed that "God's Work" is the
theme for Father's Day? And have you noticed that the
election of the next Presiding Bishop is scheduled on
the day that's themed "God's Work" ?
The theme brims with possibilities.
God's work is all of creation! Much of the work in this
exhibition celebrates the wonder all around us. Jan
Neal's "Burning Bush" bursts forth with life
– cardinals, symbols of the Holy Spirit; red gladiolus,
emblematic of God's fire. Kathy Thaden's mosaics let
me almost understand how God may see the world He made.
Tiny pieces cascading into a universal whole –
of human hands, echoing God's own.
Anne Wetzel's "Solomon's
Seal" shows us beautiful creation –
so small, so perfect. It cannot be expanded nor improved
on. “Keep my eyes open,” Anne writes; “just
look ... It is all here for me to dwell in, to give
How may we give thanks
for such a blessed dwelling place?
A friend of mine honors the
blessings in her life by spending a lot
of time in a much harsher place: Northern Malawi. She
has made many friends there –
and lost some, to the
terrible diseases that ravage the region. She keeps
going back. Because of her, others have made the trip
as well. No one returns unchanged.
After a visit, one young man commented,
"The people there walk everywhere for miles. How
can they do that? And sometimes they even sing as they
walk. They are happy!"
How can that be? Are desperate people more
pure or noble somehow? I do not know. People tend to
be the same everywhere. But perhaps under the harsh
lens of survival, God's work comes more clearly into
The Episcopal Relief
Development photo "In the Shadow of Suffering"
shows a harsh view as well, of desolation
under a burning sun. It is hard to look at. It should
be. Knowledge like this can change us; sometimes the
effect is profound.
After learning about the great
need at an Anglican orphanage in Kenya,
my son's kindergarten teacher made several trips there.
A boy named Geoffrey tugged at her heart. Now she has
resigned her teaching job to spend more time there.
She explained, "In Kenya, when I leave, the children
have nothing. If they have a good day or a bad day or
something special happens, they have no one to tell."
She continued, "The children
tell me, 'When you come, you look us in the eye. No
one else ever does that.' " They stand and talk
to her for several hours every day. There are no chairs,
but no one cares. What counts is that she listens.
Most of our lives here in
North America have little to do
World relief zones. We are comfortable; there is plenty
of food. Most of us even have jobs that we can take
for granted. We have medical care, housing, electrical
power, water – everything we need.
We also have people in our own alleyways
who are homeless and hurting. Laura Fisher Smith's contemporary
icon "Our Mother Sits Alone" depicts a woman
most of us might look away from. It's easy to ignore
the needy, even when we walk past them and hear them
call after us. Is it God's work to write our usual check
for the Sunday morning offering and then think no more
about all that? Can we comfortably tell God that we
have done our share, that someone else must tend to
all the rest?
In the Episcopal Relief
Development photograph "Another Step Forward/The
Road Ahead," we see a group of women
in a cloudless African landscape, in front of a single
tree. These women are swaying together, singing. They
God bless them for all that they
celebrate! I join them; I am happy for them and with
them. God is present there –
and everywhere. God's work
is going on every minute, in every corner of this planet.
Let us go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God! Alleluia, Alleluia!
ECVA Director of Communications